At our evening service this past Lord's Day we sang a hymn written by John Newton in 1779 based upon Proverbs 18:24, "There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.", #142 as found in the Trinity Hymnal. I was so moved by this hymn that I thought I would share it not only because of what impression it made upon me (stanzas 4 and 5 particularly) but also as I think it is apropos to the most recent discussion in the Prayer Forum by our dear sister, Jacy.

One there is, above all others,
Well deserves the name of Friend;
His love beyond a brother's,
Costly, free, and knows no end:
They who once his kindness prove
Find it everlasting love.

Which of all our friends, to save us,
Could or would have shed his blood?
But our Jesus died to have us
Reconciled in him to God.
This was boundless love indeed;
Jesus is a Friend in need.

When he lived on earth abased,
"Friend of sinners" was his name;
Now above all glory raised,
He rejoices in the same;
Still he calls them brethren, friends,
And to all their wants attends.

Could we bear from one another
What he daily bears from us?
Yet this glorious Friend and Brother
Loves us though we treat him thus:
Though for good we render ill,
He accounts us brethren still.

O for grace our hearts to soften!
Teach us, Lord, at length to love;
We, alas! forget too often
What a Friend we have above:
But when home our souls are brought,
We will love thee as we ought. AMEN

In His grace,

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simul iustus et peccator

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